An improved rice thresher called “ASI” built by local small-scale manufacturers during a 3-week training workshop was unveiled by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture of Liberia Dr Moses Zinnah in Gbarnga, Bong County, Liberia, at the closing ceremony of the workshop on 17 July 2016.
The training workshop brought together 26 local small-scale manufacturers selected from all counties of Liberia. The workshop was jointly organized by AfricaRice and the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) as part of the Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization (SAPEC) project with support from the African Development Bank.
The trainees were able to build four ASI threshers during the workshop, which were displayed at the closing ceremony. The performance of the threshers during the demonstration was highly appreciated.
The closing ceremony, which was chaired by the Minister of Agriculture, was attended by Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, partners from the development and donor organizations including FAO, the World Bank, WFP and USAID. It was well covered by the local and national media.
Hailing the success of the training workshop, AfricaRice Country Representative Dr Inoussa Akintayo said, “Many partners, including FAO and USAID, have promised to join AfricaRice in the promotion of this improved technology across the country.”
He thanked the Liberian government for the strong support to this initiative, demonstrated by two visits made by the President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the workshop to encourage the trainees.
Dr Akintayo pointed out the need for improved post-harvest technology for modernizing rice production in Liberia, such as the ASI thresher, since manual rice threshing is labor-intensive, back-breaking and inefficient, leading to significant post-harvest crop losses.
ASI reduces labor requirements, speeds up the post-harvest process, allows production of grains with less damage, and increases the marketability of local rice.
The ASI thresher was developed in Senegal by AfricaRice and its partners based on a prototype from Asia. It is the most widely used thresher in the Senegal River Valley. Variations on ASI have been released subsequently in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Cameroon and Chad.